Medical Marijuana: Already Legal

This spring, as the legislature will debate legalization of Marijuana, medical marijuana has been legal in Vermont since 2014.  An estimated 1,788 people are registered as of March 2015.

In Vermont, it is legal to have medical marijuana with no incarceration for possession of a small amount. If you have an “identification card you are allowed up to two oz. of marijuana, cultivating then you are allowed to have two oz. marijuana, and in addition to having no more than two mature and seven immature plants.” (From the Vermont State Website.)

According to norml, “If you have possession or are dealer/grower (illegally) and you have 1 oz. or less with a first offence, second offence, and subsequent offences you would get no incarceration, but you will have a fine of $200, $300, or $500.” The greater amount in your possession, the longer you are incarcerated or the larger fine you have to pay, unless you have a medical marijuana identification card. Even with a card, you are still limited with how much you can buy and how much you can grow.

According to WebMD, “No matter how it gets into your system, it affects almost every organ in your body, as well as your nervous and immune systems.” If you eat marijuana it takes longer for your body to absorb the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), because it has to break it down in your stomach before it goes through your bloodstream. “Smoking pot can increase your heart rate by as much as two times for up to 3 hours. That’s why some people have a heart attack right after they use marijuana. It can increase bleeding, lower blood pressure, and affect your blood sugar, too.” The WebMD team added, “We don’t yet know if marijuana is linked to higher odds of getting lung cancer. But the process does irritate your lungs — which is why regular pot smokers are more likely to have an ongoing cough and to have lung-related health problems like chest colds and lung infections.”

Some physical effects of Marijuana are:

  • Dizziness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Red eyes and dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed reaction time (If you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident  more than doubles.)

Marijuana can also effect your mind and mood according to WebMD: “Most people use marijuana because the high makes them feel happy, relaxed, or detached from reality.”

Marijuana can also have less pleasant effects:

  • A distorted sense of time
  • Random thinking
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Short-term forgetfulness

According to WebMD, “The amount of THC in marijuana has gone up in recent years. Most leaves used to contain between 1% and 4% THC. Now most have closer to 7%. Experts worry this might make it easier to become dependent on or addicted to marijuana,” adding, “Marijuana can also cause more health problems if you have a condition like liver disease, low blood pressure, or diabetes. If you’re a man, heavy use could lower your testosterone levels, and your sperm count and quality. That, in turn, can zap your libido and fertility. Research shows a link between marijuana use and mental health problems like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, short-term psychosis, and schizophrenia.”

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The Chronicle talked with Tara Hathaway. She said, “If it helps, then I don’t see what the problem is. All medicines are watched and under certain regulations.” For example, Tara’s son has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the doctor put him on vyvanse for treatment and is under strict watch. He visits a doctor every three months and attends therapy. Of course, when dealing with teens, “It’s important to have the parents and doctors involved in the decision and educated about the side affects and what works and what may not.” Tara also added, “If used properly, I think that it can help for several cases of medical diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and cancers.”

U-32 Senior Shane Morris believes, “If you need it then it can be a good thing, but if you abuse it then it would be a bad thing.” When it comes to teens, “It would be ok, if the parents are involved because then they are not using behind their back and they can’t abuse it.”

Senior Liza Hickory believes, “if it is for a medical cause then it is okay, but if you are doing it just because you want to then that can be a problem especially when people need it.” When dealing with teens, “if they have parental consent then it’s nobody’s, but their business.”

Lt. Governor Phil Scott said, “I voted in favor of medical marijuana when I was in the Senate because I felt it was good to have another option for pain and symptom management, as long as it’s under the oversight of a qualified physician and regulated as that physician sees necessary.”

3 thoughts on “Medical Marijuana: Already Legal”

  1. Sorry to bug you guys again, but your moderation system is inefficient. The Idea behind the comments is to spark discussion about your articles. When it takes 48 hours to check a comment no discussion will likely happen.

    I am willing to bet that the majority of this website’s traffic flow occurs on Fridays and Saturdays, when the email to read the chronicle is released. No one checks an article multiple times for comments. If we want discussion to be encouraged, the first comments should be posted before everyone has read the article.

    If an comment finally gets through after the main flow of traffic passes, then it is likely that no one will read the comment that someone posted. People are more likely going to respond if there is a comment there already, and people will check multiple times to see if their comment got a response.

    (Assuming that the moderation system is done manually), I would recommend that comment checks are done more often, or that there is a automated comment filtering system put in place. Otherwise, no one is going to discuss anything in the comments that the can’t discuss people elsewhere with less time between responses.

  2. P.S.

    Does anyone even read the comments. Probably not because most of the articles don’t have comments, but if someone here is reading the comments, congratulations on making it through my rant.

  3. Well, this is something that affects me personally , so I have a lot to say about this.

    To start, I disagree with the quote “…but if you are doing it just because you want to then that can be a problem especially when people need it”. While I do not promote people going out and using it, if people were to use it for recreation, the price would go down so long as there wasn’t a monopoly. Weed is very expensive here in Vermont and the rules are very restrictive. I know someone personally that uses marijuana medically, and she struggles to pay for even the very restrictive 2oz limit in the state. Unfortunately, this is amount is still less expensive than the drugs she would have to take as an alternative (which also doesn’t work as well). The prices here are more expensive than medical marijuana was in Washington prior to total legalization.

    It is also extremely difficult to get a prescription for medical marijuana in Vermont. It took the person I know over a year to transfer her prescription from the Washington program into the Vermont program. You would not accept this time for any other drug. Imagine if a diabetic moved to Vermont and it took them a year to get a prescription for insulin. They would die in that time. Luckily, the person I know doesn’t had a life threatening condition, but if someone did, their death would be at the state’s hands.

    If marijuana were legalized (and not monopolized) prices would be lowered from businesses competing, lowering prices for those who need it, it would clear space in the court system, give the state a new source of tax revenue, and the state could use the extra money saved from the court system and gained from taxes to help end the real drug problem, the rampant rates of heroin addiction. The state is wasting money on a drug that does less damage than alcohol or tobacco that could be used for actually dangerous drugs (by comparison) and in the process reducing access for those who need it.

    If increasing access for the people who need it is the state’s goal, it’s failing badly.

    Next, we need to keep in mind that synthetic marijuana isn’t at all the same as natural marijuana. People can die off from the synthetics, but it would literally take more natural weed to overdose than it would take to have enough to crush you under its weight.

    Marijuana may increase heart attack after use, but according to the FDA, so does Advil, Alive, multi cold symptom medicines, Viagra, heart burn medicines etc… Every painkiller does damage to the body, so why can we by Aspirin over the counter when it doesn’t take a lot to over dose, when you literally can’t overdose from smoking weed?

    Most people who use marijuana don’t go on to harder substances (according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse). The only reason marijuana can be described as a gateway drug is because it is sold next to harder substances. When people buying weed see more dangerous drugs next to it, they are more likely to try the drugs as their curiosities are peaked. If it were sold separate and legal, the rate of harder drug abuse may decline. marijuana could still be addicting for daily users, but it usual doesn’t lead to heroin use.

    In conclusion, we are passing up tax dollars that could be used to address real issues, like our state’s heroine addiction. We are restricting access to medication for people who need it by inflating the prices of medical marijuana where it would literally be cheaper to buy a round trip to Washington buy it there and wasting court space on a what is comparatively a non-issue.

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